When selling your home, the way it smells plays a very important role in how it is perceived by potential buyers.

Why? Smells are more quickly and strongly associated with memories than visual or auditory cues, because smell is the only sense directly connected to the brain’s limbic system, which houses emotions and memories, according to scent experts.

Additionally, if the “day to day” scent of your home is “complex” it can really distract potential buyers as they attempt to process where or what the smell might be comprised of. Honestly, regardless of how tidy you keep your home, you’re living your life in this house – unless you’ve just had the carpets cleaned and the walls washed and the oven scrubbed etc. (all in all, not bad ideas prior to an open house) the scent may reflect a certain amount of your life’s complexity; if only the previous night’s dinner.  (Tip #1, probably a good idea to skip cooking anything terribly aromatic for a day or two before your open house…)

Research has found that certain scents trigger certain responses in the mind. With that in mind you may want to try the following:

  • Before adding any scent, neutralize the home’s “pallet.” Spraying products that claim to neutralize odors into the air is not really recommended. What does do a great job of neutralizing odors in a home is baking soda. Sprinkle a little on your carpets and on to fabric covered furniture. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and then vacuum it all up. Baking soda is amazing at absorbing odors. For this reason, in an open house situation, after you take out the garbage from the house, sprinkling a little baking soda in the garbage can will reduce or eliminate any potentially lingering odors.
  • Sometimes, the best fragrance is just the fresh air of your neighborhood. If you’re having an open house on beautiful sunny day, and running the air conditioning is not a necessity for comfort, open the windows!
  • A fresh and vibrant scent is a fantastic way to showcase an active lifestyle such as in a downtown or golf & country club setting. Citrus is a great way to invigorate Sell your home with subtle orange
    the minds of clients interested in this kind of lifestyle! Try running the kitchen garbage disposal with orange rind and several ice cubes. It allows this very effective aroma to waft through the house.
  • The scent of mint or basil tends to evoke the fresh, organic feelings one might have about a “country living” experience.
  • If the house or cabin you have on the market has a decidedly “rustic” feeling to it, you can bring in a few pieces of freshly cut pine or my personal favorite – cedar to enhance the experience.
  • Fresh lavender strategically positioned throughout the house will give potential buyers a very relaxing, floral scented experience. This scent calls an “English garden” to mind.
  • Vanilla is a universally complementary scent. Its simplicity and adaptivity make it the scent foundation for many favorite recipes, and it is also very pleasant on its own. Adding vanilla extract to cotton balls that you then strategically conceal throughout the house will put buyers at ease.


  • Your home should probably not use more than one scent. The idea is to keep the aromatherapy simplified. Complex smells, like chocolate chip cookies; tend to be too complex and distract a potential buyer from what they came to your open house for, in the first place.
  • Whatever scent you choose should not be “overwhelming.” The idea is to subtly enhance the overall open house experience.
  • The scent should reflect the overall nature of the home’s setting.